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The Celiac Disease and Gluten-Free Diet Rumour

Rumour: Sticking to a gluten-free diet is challenging for patients with celiac disease.

Truth: This is true.

Individuals with celiac disease cannot digest gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, among others. As an autoimmune disorder, the body reacts to gluten by destroying a part of the small intestine that absorbs important nutrients.

When individuals with celiac disease refrain from eating gluten, the small intestine can heal. Because of this, the only safe and effective diet for those with this disease is a gluten-free diet. However, previous research has found that children with celiac disease find it harder to maintain a gluten-free diet.  

A study published in BMC Gastroenterology in January 2018 investigated what factors may affect patients’ adherence to a gluten-free diet. They reported that about 20% of patients did not strictly adhere to a gluten-free diet, citing reasons such as high costs, unpleasant tastes, and a lack of choices. They also found that social settings may make it difficult for individuals to stray from a gluten-free diet. Read more about this study here.

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